Day FOUR in Beijing

This is where we stayed: Nan Luo Gu Xiang (那锣鼓巷), 10 minutes walk to the nearest bus station and 20 minutes walk to tourist attractions like Forbidden City (紫禁城) and Tian An Men Square (天安门广场).

We planned for a day trip to the Summer Palace (颐和园) and the Temple of Heaven (天坛) today…to the Summer Palace, we took a bus, and then we took subway to the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.

You can consider to get an audio guide at the entrance at RMB10, but the introduction is not as throrough as the one in Forbidden city, and it won’t repeat itself. The wireless device claimed to be detected and will give introduction when we walk along, but we found it is rather insensitive, we walk passed a few places without explanation.

The Summer Palace, originally named Qing Yi Yuan (清漪园) or the Garden of Clear Ripples, was first constructed in 1750. Renamed in 1888 as Yi He Yuan (颐和园) or the Garden of Health and Harmony, it was supposed to serve as a summer resort for the Empress Dowager Cixi. (慈禧太后). The Summer Palace was vandalised by Allied Forces of the Eight Powers (八国联军) during their invasion in 1900. Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the Summer Palace has undergone several major renovations.

It is a huge garden with plenty of buildings, we visited Hall that Dispels the Clouds ( 排云殿), The Hall of Benevolence and Longevity ( 仁寿殿), The Fragrance of the Buddha (佛香阁), etc

Suzhou Street (苏州街) was built in the style of South China towns during Emperor Qianlong’s reign. A street where emperors and empresses could pretend to go shopping as ordinary people, it was burned to the ground by the Anglo-French Allied Forces in 1860 and restored in 1990. The 300-meter street is built over water with shops and stands on the bank. More than 60 businesses, including a teahouse, a restaurant, a pharmacy, a bank, a hat store, a jewelry store and a grocery store, operate on the bank, presenting a concentrated illustration of the commercialism in South China towns in the 18th century.

The Long Corridor (长廊) was rebuilt in the 1886 because the Anglo-French Allied Forces burned it down in 1860. It starts from the Moon Gate in the east and ends at Shizhang Pavilion in the west, covering a distance of 728 meters with its 273 sections. Of all the corridors in Chinese classical gardens, the Long Corridor is the longest. On the beams are more than 8,000 colorful paintings depicting stories from Chinese classical novels, folk tales, landscapes as well as flora and fauna.

The Garden of Virtue and Harmony (德和园) is a garden lying north of the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity (仁寿殿). It was built as a theater for the Empress Dowager. The garden consists of the Great Stage, the Hall of Health and Happiness, and Qingshan Hall.

This 3-storey theater stage is the biggest and best-preserved wooden stage of delicate design and magnificent structure, and is therefore of much scientific and artistic value. Famous Beijing Opera actors of the Qing Dynasty such as Yang Xiao Lou (杨小楼) and Tan Xin Pei (谭鑫培) would come here to perform for the Empress Dowager and the stage was regarded as the “Cradle of Beijing Opera”. The Empress Dowager also granted special permission for some of the princes, dukes and cabinet ministers to watch Beijing opera here.

Seventeen-Arch Bridge (十七孔桥) is a 150-meter bridge and is the longest bridge in any Chinese imperial garden and was named for its seventeen arches. Over 500 stone lions in different poses are carved on the posts of the bridge’s railings. At both ends of the bridge are carved four strange animals.

We have a visit to University of Beijing on the way to Temple of Heaven (天坛)…it is huge!

West? entrance of Temple of Heaven (天坛)…

It was built in 1420, along with the construction of the Forbidden City. The Temple covers an area of 273 hectares. It is the best preserved and largest sacrificial building complex in the world. The whole complex, gorgeously painted and set off by thousands of pine and cypress tress…

The Echo Wall…

After the visit to Temple of Heaven, we were searching for “li qun” (利群) duck restaurant. We had a hard time to locate it…eventually, lead by a kind auntie, we reached li qun after an hour of search…

We ordered a set dinner…without reservation, we were advised to leave in an hour of time…mum said the Peking roast duck is just so so…


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